Saturday, March 25, 2006
Still Cold On Florida Beaches
On Florida beaches spring is the season for freezing your feathers off while you get a sunburn. Human spring-breakers arrive and feel they must spend time scantilly clad (God bless them) at the beach, because after all, this is Florida. The challenge for those college kids is a day like today when the sun is brilliant in a cloudless blue sky, but the air temp this morning is 36 F. Couple that with a stiff breeze off the ocean and you are in the freeze while you fry paradox. And if you actually go in the water...brrrrr.
Even these royal terns have sense enough to hang out on the beach.
(Sanderling in molt...I think)
Later in the summer, Sanderlings will be mostly white and run back and forth along the moving wave line. They track the edge of each rolling wave grabbing little invertebrates tumbled out of the sand by the receding water. Very comical, like the tourist wearing shoes at the beach who tries to outrun the onrushing wavelets.
(Young Laughing Gulls)
Later, these juveniles will develop a distinct black cap and be easy to tell from our other gull species. Most of these shore birds spend a few years in juvenile plumage stages that are different from the adults.
Ringbilled Gull and Least Tern
I'm pretty sure that is a Least Tern. They are very common on our beaches and have even adapted to nesting on large, flat big box store roofs near the coast. When I was a ranger at Fort Matanzas, we spent a lot of effort and time posting and protecting their beach nest sites.
All of these bird pics were taken on a breezy cold day at St. Augustine beach. It wasn't a great day for their feeding efforts, so most were just hunkered down against the cold.
Later, their high metabolism will demand that they actively search for food, cold wind or not.
The human spring-breakers will be doing the same thing, much to the delight of local restaurant owners.
Posted by R.Powers at 7:14 AM